“Love Your Enemies”

The follower of Christ should strive to be at peace with everyone. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). A Christian must never find himself at enmity with another person because of something he did or said to unnecessarily cause the hostility. However, the believer may not be able to prevent all hostility. Because he is a follower of Christ, the same people who hate Christ will hate him. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18). In our dealings with those of the world it is possible to act uprightly, and still be hated and treated as an enemy. We, however, must not hate our enemy, but love him.
In this last antithesis (Mat.5:43-48), Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, ‘love you enemies…’” Though we do not find the statement. “Hate your enemy” in the Old Testament, Israel was commanded not to seek the peace (shalom) or the good of their enemies, the Ammonites and the Moabites (Deu.23:3-6). By contrast, Jesus demands that we love our enemies which would certainly include seeking their peace and doing good to them.
We must be like our Father who makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. We must love not only our brothers and sisters in Christ, but all people, even our enemies. In this way we distinguish ourselves from the sinners of the world who love only those who love them. As we love our enemies, we are perfect in love as our heavenly Father.